The sustainable development of a wind power company benefits not only its business, but also drives and facilitates the development of the entire industry chain and the community. Ma Jinru FCG HKFCG, Vice-President and Board Secretary, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd, shares her experience.
Social responsibility and sustainable development are no longer new to businesses. These concepts have gradually developed from a topic for academic research or the advocacy of environmental and social groups to a series of disclosure rules and regulations enacted by governments and regulators around the world. They have also become top agendas for investment institutions.
Against this background, a growing number of companies have stepped up their efforts to integrate social responsibility and sustainable development into their business models, corporate strategies and operations. Corporate purposes have also moved away from simply pursuing financial performance and shareholder interests to pursuing a comprehensive set of values, namely economic, environmental and social performance.
Sustainability should be deeply rooted in all levels of operation to enable digging deep into the company’s business and a comprehensive enhancement of the company’s business. It is also an important way to drive business development and transformation as well as enhance a company’s competitiveness and brand image. Every company should design and formulate a sustainability strategic plan with an organisational structure to support and foster sustainable development.
The three key aspects of sustainable development
Founded in 1998, Goldwind is one of the first wind power companies in China. Its installed wind power capacity has ranked first in China for 11 consecutive years and has been among the top three in the world for seven consecutive years. With total assets of over RMB119 billion, the company is listed on both the Shenzhen stock exchange and the main board of Hong Kong stock exchange. By the end of 2021, Goldwind had 86GW global installed wind power capacity, over 50GW operation and maintenance service capacity, and over 44,000 operating wind turbines in 32 countries and regions across six continents.
With ‘Innovating for a Brighter Tomorrow’ as its mission, Goldwind is committed to driving global sustainable development through its key wind power business. It strives to fulfill its social responsibility and sustainability transformation by exploring efforts in three main areas, namely its management system, strategic planning and operations.
1. Management system
Sustainable development is a top priority of Goldwind’s board. The board reviews and approves the company’s sustainability work summary, upcoming annual work plans and its sustainability report every year. In addition, a sustainability development committee has been established under the board. Chaired by the board’s chairman and comprised of three executive directors and a number of senior executives, the committee meets four to five times a year to review and approve sustainability strategies and work plans, and to regularly monitor the progress of relevant projects. The company has also established a department of sustainable development management to coordinate and manage its sustainable development projects in order to achieve a better integration of sustainability concerns into company operations.
2. Strategic planning
By combining Goldwind’s operational characteristics, the company has put together a sustainable development strategic plan focusing on five areas: integrity and compliance, green and environmental operations, sustainable industry chain, fair and healthy work environment and harmonious community relations. The plan helps the company identify work priorities for the next three to five years, followed by breaking down the plan into various projects and targets for implementation. The company’s latest sustainable development strategic plan proposed a number of targets, including carbon neutrality at the operational level by 2022, major suppliers’ green power usage ratio to reach 100% by 2025, and 100% recycling of wind turbines by 2040.
I. Green products
Goldwind believes that high quality products and services are an integral part of its social responsibility. In relation to quality assurance, the company has established a comprehensive and systematic quality management model. The model is built on the company’s years of practical experience in the areas of corporate culture, organisational support, technological innovation, outstanding industry chain and quality service. Such an approach allows for a continuous improvement of the products and service quality, enabling reliable operation of wind turbines over their 20 to 30-year life cycle.
In relation to low carbon emissions, the company is committed to reducing the level of carbon emissions throughout the life cycle of wind turbines by continuously optimising their design. In 2020, the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute released the environmental product declarations (EPD) of the company’s two wind turbines. The amount of carbon emissions produced in these two wind turbines’ full life cycle are 7.25g and 8.04g of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (kWh) respectively, which is less than 1% of fossil fuel power emissions, one-third of photovoltaic emissions, and far lower than the average carbon emission (12g) of the wind power industry.
By the end of 2021, Goldwind’s global cumulative installed capacity exceeded 86GW, with an annual power generation capacity of 193.2 billion kWh. Its annual CO2 emissions generated are 161 million tons less than that of fossil fuels.
In relation to environmental protection, the company has taken into consideration, as early as in the initial planning and design stage, the impacts of wind turbines on birds and the surrounding communities and environment. The company has actively developed bird-repelling technology for detecting and driving birds away from wind farms. Another technological development is the installation of light and shadow testing device which helps to reduce the impact of flickering light through controlling turbine rotational speed and wind farms management.
II. Green production
Goldwind provides quality and reliable green power to the world, and at the same time has implemented low carbon and environmental measures throughout its entire production process.
The company actively promotes the use of wind power and other renewable energy by gradually increasing the ratio of green power usage in factories through the building of smart microgrids, water storage-based air conditioning solutions and more. In 2021, the company worked on building green factories, with all of its six factories eligible to apply for certification as green factories.
In addition, 50% of the energy used by Goldwind Yizhuang Smart Park, based in Beijing, is renewable energy. Equipped with wind-solar hybrid energy storage facilities, the Park has achieved this level of renewable energy usage through years of efforts building smart microgrids, and implementing energy management and carbon reduction measures. In 2020, the Park offset its annual amount of greenhouse gas emissions by buying China Certified Emission Reduction (CCER) credits. Under this initiative, the Park was certified by a third party assurance organisation as the first carbon neutral park in China.
The packaging of large components in logistics and transportation has been recycled and reused. Digital technology has been implemented to optimise transportation solutions for reducing environmental impacts. In the area of operation and maintenance, a comprehensive approach is adopted for recycling components and parts to maximise usage of resources. In addition, utilisation and treatment technology of decommissioned wind turbines is being actively explored.
III. Green supply chain
Goldwind is committed to enabling green transformation and low carbon development of the entire industry chain. In 2016, the company pioneered the ‘Green Supply Chain’ project, aiming at encouraging and motivating suppliers to save energy and reduce emissions so as to improve the overall sustainability performance of the wind power industry chain. To encourage and support suppliers to adopt environmental measures, the company has conducted evaluation of green suppliers for years. In 2021, a total of 40 suppliers have been rated as level 4 and 5 green suppliers, 13 more compared to 2020.
In 2021, Goldwind invited nearly 300 suppliers to sign the ‘Initiative for Green and Low-Carbon Development of the Wind Power Industry Chain’, which calls on suppliers to collaborate with the company in the development of green wind power products for reducing carbon emissions. Under this initiative, Goldwind utilises its expertise in green power production and energy use technology to help companies in the supply chain achieve energy efficiency and support their use of renewable energy wherever possible.
IV. Healthy culture
Employee health management is one of the highlights of Goldwind’s corporate responsibility initiatives. Premised on the protection of employees’ rights and interests, the company has created and promoted a healthy culture, making it an integral part of the overall corporate culture.
The company has built sports venues covering a total of 11,629 square metres, and employed health management consultants to design and organise online and offline sports courses. The company has established more than 10 art and sports clubs, encompassing badminton, football, table tennis, yoga, swimming, dancing and more. Retired national athletes and professional coaches have been employed to help employees exercise in a scientific way.
The company believes that sports and art activities help employees achieve work-life balance, build a strong physique, enrich their mental wellbeing, so as to enable them to work more energically.
V. Harmonious community relations
Goldwind has been actively participating in community development. Tapping into its business strengths, the company has initiated a series of charity activities that drive the development of the communities surrounding its wind farms, supporting education and promoting public health.
The company has established the Beijing Goldwind Public Welfare Foundation for organising charity activities in a systematic and professional way. In 2021, the company’s total charity donations amounted to RMB 9.78 million, with 2,284 employee volunteer served hours.
Goldwind has published its sustainability reports for 14 consecutive years. Its ESG performance scored highly by a number of local and international rating agencies, including AA rating by MSCI ESG for three consecutive years, as well as A+ rating by CASVI Sustainability Value Rating.
In addition, the company has been listed in MSCI ESG Leaders Indexes, FTSE4Good Index Series, Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index, and more for a number of years. Furthermore, the company ranked second in China’s Top 500 ESG Companies by the Sina Finance Golden Kirin Forum, and received numerous awards including the Sustainable Development Award of the Year in China ESG Golden Awards and Sustainable Development and Inclusive Award in Caijing Award.
Ma Jinru FCG HKFCG
Vice-President and Board Secretary, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd
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